Nurses General Nursing


Please help me. If the client is illiterate but competent to give consent, can i get his fingerprints instead? I just want to hear an opinion and not a legal advice.


155 Posts

2 witnesses physically there when the client gives consent after the consent has been read to them. An illiterate client doesn't necessarily mean that they are unable to sign a document.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education. X on the line (or the patient might be able to write his/her name even without being able to read) after the consent is read and explained as needed) with two staff signing that they were present during the reading, explanation, and Xing...


4 Posts

Thank you very much @ whispera

I also checked Saunders Q & A page 351 and saw that an X mark would suffice if the client cannot write. It's just that, I had my clinical experience in a certain unit and they asked me to get the fingerprint of the client instead. That's why I'm confused.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

1 Article; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

I worked in a city facility where we often had illiterate patients. Our policy there was to have two people witness the patient make some kind of mark on the consent form like an X if they want just like in the movies or that they consented and then write "patient unable to sign" and then both document that they witnessed it. They had to consent for treatment when they were admitted to the hospital so someone in the Admitting Department knew what to do. Before you get a patient like this, call someone in the nursing office or Medical Records and ask if there is a policy on it. The Risk Management Department may know the answer.

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